More sinuous river will promote biodiversity

Herts chalk stream to be reprofiled

Hertfordshire’s River Bulbourne, one of only around 200 chalk streams in the world, is to undergo reprofiling work in order to encourage new wildlife habitats and increase biodiversity. Work will be overseen by the Box Moor Trust, a self-financing charity founded in 1594 and currently responsible for nearly 500 acres of wildlife-rich meadow on the edge of Hemel Hempstead.

Centuries of dredging and other development for milling, agriculture, and the construction of the adjacent Grand Union Canal have left the channel artificially straight, wide and deep. Steep banks with material piled on top have disconnected it from the floodplain.

New measures involve reprofiling the banks to make the river course more sinuous and creating a woody habitat in-stream with timber deflectors to push the current in different directions. This will encourage plant life, which will in turn attract wildlife to the clear waters, fostering general biodiversity.

An existing weir will also be notched down, reduced by a meter in width and half its height, aiding flood passage. New fencing will be installed to control grazing on the site and protect the restored channel.

The £50,000 works are due to take place this spring on a 1km stretch between Old Fishery Road and Two Waters Road. The project is a collaboration between the Box Moor Trust, Chilterns Chalk Streams Project and Environment Agency, with additional funding form the Colne Catchment Action Network.

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